Friday, January 25, 2013

Query letter #2: Marlana A

Genre:  YA science fiction
Word Count: 66,000 words

[I quite like this way of providing title, genre and word length - it means you don't have to work it into the letter. But just be aware that some agents may not be so fond.]

Sixteen-year old Paxton Mills freaking hates living in space. [Good opening line - I know straightaway the age and name of your character and something key about them.]  The station is freezing cold, her berth is barely bigger than a port-a-potty and her fear of heights doesn't lend itself to a comfortable intergalactic experience.  She's one of several hundred teenagers saved from the fires that ravaged Earth. [Great hook.] Handpicked for their ability to acclimate to celestial living, they were taken to ensure humanity's survival.  However, Paxton isn't grateful to her rescuers for whisking her into space and educating her in hydroponics and uniform maintenance.  Why should she give a damn about hanging squash or pride herself on having a wrinkle-free jumper, when she's haunted by memories of her loved ones being left behind to burn to death? [Good - suggests that there is humour in the story. Unless there isn't - in which case, don't make the letter humorous.]

But her days of sulking end when she realizes her teachers aren't humans, but aliens called the Nephilim.  Knowing she needs proof, Paxton breaks into the forbidden Red Block and finds curled and crusty teens barely clinging to life.  That's when she discovers she and the other kids were never taken to ensure humanity's survival.  They were taken to ensure the survival of the Nephilim.  

Unwilling to end up resembling an oversized fetus, Paxton rallies her friends so together they can find an escape.  As they unravel the mystery of the station and their captors, Paxton's boyfriend is murdered.  If Paxton wants to save her friends from this same fate, she must trust an annoyingly perfect hybrid named Kendal and accept that good and evil don't always run skin deep. [In the previous letter I said not much detail is needed in the letter - and that's when the letter reads like a synopsis. This reads like a pitch, so I wanted to keep reading - therefore, this much detail is okay.]

THE CHILDREN OF THE NEPHILIM is complete at approximately 66,000 words.  I've been an active member of the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators since 2009 and am the group leader for the SCBWI Osceola County Critique Group. [You can possibly include a bit more personal detail - why you love this genre, for example.]

General feedback: A well-constructed letter with a great pitch. You need just a bit more information about you before the end, so the agent/publisher gets a sense of who you are. It's okay to not have writing 'credits' but that doesn't mean you should just not say anything - instead of including credits, include some information about how you came to write this genre and why you love it.  


Writer said...

This is so interesting to read ... loving this series and being able to see how others write their pitches - but especially loving your comments along the way. Ah ... so that's what an agent wants ....

Anthony J. Langford said...

Also enjoying this series. Just in time for a new novel submission.